(GMM) Charles Leclerc has denied that his harsh self-criticism after crashing in Baku was strategic.
The young Ferrari driver looked on course for a first win in red when he crashed in qualifying.
He was incredibly critical of his own mistake, leaving some people wondering if it was a tactic to shield him from harsher external criticism.
"That's not true," the 21-year-old told Monaco Matin newspaper.
"It was a spontaneous, natural reaction, not a hidden message. I've always been very self critical, all the way back to karting."
Making even bigger waves in 2019 is Leclerc's duel with his new Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel.
Some have noted that the intensity of that duel is even stronger than that between Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton at the top of the championship.
"I've noticed that there are more comments about Vettel and me on social media," Leclerc admitted. "In a way, I can understand that.
"Hamilton and Bottas have been together for some time, while Ferrari has brought in a young driver and people are watching what I do. That's natural," he said.
But Leclerc's main focus is on improving the 2019 Ferrari, which so far this season has often looked fast only to be beaten by Mercedes in every race.
"Yes, depending on track conditions, this car requires extremely precise settings to be really fast," he admitted. "But the potential is there.
"In Australia and China Mercedes was faster, but in Bahrain we had the fastest car and again in Baku we had it in our hands to have the best car again," said Leclerc.
"In tennis terms you would say Mercedes has managed a very impressive break, but it's a long match. I think everything is still there for us to win and the team also believes in it.
"We can continue to improve our car and with the right setup we can win," he added.